I had a different post planned for today. I was going to write something cute and sweet about the parent/child date nights we have planned for our summer. Monday was the first: a date for me and my oldest boy. It started well and ended horribly. Actually, I suppose it ended well, but the middle was truly bad.
I can’t write it out in detail (it’s too recent and too raw), but the condensed version is this: a quick and terrible allergic reaction, a mother who forgot to bring the epi-pen, a stranger standing next to us who hands me her own child’s pediatric epi-pen, an ambulance and a crowd of paramedics. The epi-pen did its job immediately and thoroughly, and the boy who couldn’t swallow or talk to me ended the night playing a wild game of cops and robbers all throughout the house.
This morning I used a stain-remover stick to dab a pair of size-4T shorts. The shorts are marked with chocolate sorbet (it was labeled dairy-free) and blood (those epi-needles are serious things). I don’t know if the stains will come out. I’m not sure that I care, but I do wish I had a stain-remover stick for my memory. At breakfast, my boy said, “Last night was scary.” Then I wished I had a stain-remover stick for his memory too.
A year ago, just before we left Chicago, two dear friends prayed for me and for my boy. It was the first time that I actually believed that my son might be healed. I also felt healed, no longer so afraid. For one year I have continued to monitor my son’s food, continued to carry his Benadryl and his epi-pens, but I stopped carrying the fear.
Last night, as I tried to fall asleep, I kept hearing this question: “Are you afraid?” I thought about it. This year I haven’t been afraid because I believed that my son was healed. I believed that food couldn’t hurt him anymore. Now I know that his allergies are worse. Now I see (again) that I am incapable of taking perfect care of him. Am I afraid?
I am tired, and I am sad, but I do not think that I am afraid.
I know that my son was made by a God who loves him even more than I do. And I know: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed” (Lamentations 3:22).
In this life, there will always be something to fear. I cannot work hard enough or be vigilant enough to erase every cause for fear.
The only antidote is love. I know that nothing can happen to me or to my child that is not filtered through Love. Nothing touches my life that Love has not allowed.
This doesn’t mean that my worst fears won’t be realized. I do think it means that my worst fears are not worth fearing. Death, for instance. From this side, it might look like the end, but, really, it’s a door. And I know that Love lives on the other side of that door.
What is the very worst that can happen? It might happen. Or, I might make a terrible mistake and forget the epi-pen, and find a stranger standing by my elbow with an epi-pen in her hand. No matter what, we will not be consumed.
“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear.”
(Isaiah 41: 13)